“Houses of Silence” and “On a Whim and a Whisper”, two poems … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

“Trauma is personal. It does not disappear if it is not validated. When it is ignored or invalidated the silent screams continue internally heard only by the one held captive. When someone enters the pain and hears the screams, healing can begin.” Danielle Bernock, Emerging with Wings: A True Story of Lies, Pain, and the Love That Heals



they dwelt in houses of silence
chewed through grudging fences
swam in oceans of best intentions
tried to find one another on the
shores of their fears and confusions,
alienation was their warrior shield

their lives were lived in a boxing ring
the fist in the glove was a malignancy
and the mom passed her days sparring,
she thought the winner would be the
woman who was pretty and hushed
she saw herself as a victim,
she exhausted her own mother’s charity

when she turned her silence on kinfolk
there was no one else she could
beat upon or say her grief to or even
show her bruises and lacerations ~
except for that wee child of silence,
useless in matters of such magnitude

© 2012, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; color sketch by Jiri Hodan, Public Domain Pictures.net


On a Whim and a Whisper

over the woman’s left shoulder
your breath hummed
a background dirge…
for the echo of her lonely feet
plodding the snow-covered streets
to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital,
dripping shame with her broken water
while you wed another in the Byzantine manner
No used-goods for you though you were the user
The child born saw the mote in your eye
growing like Pinocchio’s nose
when, as kin to a secret vice,
you kept her in your dresser drawer
to be pulled out on a whim and a whisper
Is anyone looking?
You missed the wedding
and the short tortured marriage …
You were never there
to teach her how to be with men…
and you weren’t there
when the sweet boy was born
Then, one year,
in honor of Father’s Day,
she dug up your casket
popped the lid open
and set herself free

© 2017, poem, Jamie Dedes; Phoenix Rising photograph courtesy of morgueFile


WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

We’ve all seen it and perhaps everyone experiences and passes it on to one extent or another: if not physical abuse, then emotional, or some combination of the two, perhaps with the added whammy of abandonment. My mother’s default parenting position was silence. My father’s default parenting position was absence. Both are expressions of abandonment.

I’d never publish these poems were my parents alive. Parents are, after all, in process. They don’t come to parenting in full blossom. They have their own painful holes to fill and histories of which we will never be fully cognizant. I know my parents were wounded soldiers. It’s very likely yours were too. Such things are a matter of degree and it’s good to write about them to help raise the general consciousness, to build understanding, and to clear the trauma, our own and perhaps that of others if the writings are shared. So write about parenting or being parented and the complexity and the issues you’ve experienced or observed.

Share your poem/s on theme or a link to it/them in the comments section below.

All poems on theme will be published next Tuesday. Please do NOT email your poem to me or leave it on Facebook. If you do it’s likely I’ll miss it or not see it in time.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These will be partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, September 17 by 8 p.m. Pacific.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you. This is a discerning nonjudgemental place to connect.



ABOUT

Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.

My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.

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21 thoughts on ““Houses of Silence” and “On a Whim and a Whisper”, two poems … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

  1. My fourth response:

    No More Fetch

    you here,
    Fetch you home.

    Fetch my lips to thine.
    Fetch my arse to this.

    Fetch you dinner.
    Fetch you a snog.

    Fetch your groceries.
    Fetch your washing and ironing.

    Fetch your slippers
    Fetch my social to your wallet.

    Fetch my hand up to stop thy fist.
    Fetch your belongings in a black bag.

    Fetch your gob and its mouthful.
    Fetch mesen to thy want.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My third response

    “A fist in

    the ear.”

    he whispers to me

    “What she needs.
    She pushes me to it.
    Harder than any squaddies.

    And her children.
    Her little bastards,
    that’s what they need

    I tell her,
    a fist in the ear
    and they don’t
    lack discipline anymore.

    They’ve got to tell me
    she’s got to tell me,
    where she goes,
    what she does,
    who she meets.

    I’ll not worry then
    will I?

    What she needs,
    If she’s off with some other
    I’ll bring a shotgun to her.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tears Of

    God

    My sons eyes are cold.
    I have seen this look before.
    He lugs my dog Sheba by her mane,

    hauls her along the floor
    a piece of meat, slopping over gunnels
    in an abattoir, blood down the drains.
    Her paws scratch and scrape
    he dumps her at my feet.

    “Bite its ear!”
    I shake my head.
    “If it’s done wrong, and it has
    bite its ear.” I shake my head
    mumble

    “Done nothing wrong.”

    “Eh! Speak up woman!”

    “It ‘aint done nothing wrong. Jack!”

    Fine rain falls through grey skies
    in the pub yard, and a yellow
    fluid flows out from under the dog.

    “Dirty bitch!”
    He kicks Sheba in her side.
    She whimpers, puts her head
    pleadingly on the black shiny
    surface of my court shoes.

    “I’ll do it then!”
    Snatches her up
    by the scruff

    “Getting a dog
    and not bringing it up right.
    Stupid cow!”

    He snaps at the silk of her ear.
    She yelps. I cry.

    “Stupid sodding cow!”
    He slaps me hard
    across my face. I feel
    his gold rings on my cheek.

    “Stop whimpering!”
    Pushes me up against
    the wet wall. His cold eyes
    up close make me shiver.

    One hand on my throat,
    the other points at her. I mumble.
    “Not again Jack. Please!”
    My legs have gone.

    “Treat the bitch right
    and it’ll treat you right.”
    Sheba inches against the wall,
    low and hung back like the grey clouds.

    Jack lets me fall. The pub door slams
    Sheba, up on her legs again,
    licks my face, lays down by my side
    puts her head on my black court shoes.

    Her neck is warm. My back hurts.
    They call the rain the “Tears of God”

    (Previously appeared in Degenerate Literature, Domestic Violence Edition, Weasel Press)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my first response:

    Billy

    still wears a nappy at seven
    doesn’t understand
    why folk tell him off

    climbs through an open
    window with his six year old
    sister whose dress tears

    as they tumble on wet
    grass in the garden
    amongst the dogshit

    and mucky diapers mam
    has chucked out the kitchen
    door, and they walk

    on the broken glass
    from beer bottles dad
    has lobbed out onto

    the asphalt path to the front
    garden gate that has only
    one hinge and they totter

    down the street to the big
    sign of the supermarket
    where steal some sweets

    and sit outside and somebody
    shouts at him and tells him off
    and he doesn’t know why.

    (previously published in Nixes Mate Magazine)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The long road home

    The umbilical cord between us,
    Invisible to the naked eye,
    Has a life of its own.
    No matter how hard I try,
    To pull away, even at my age,
    It has an elastic snap
    And cuts me short, then bounces
    Me back to you.

    I wonder how long it spans,
    Even as you get carted away,
    Across highways,
    Somewhere upstate,
    I know I will feel the internal tug,

    Pull and tug and pull,
    Till the pain brings tears to my eyes
    And I run to the kitchen to grab hold
    Of the scissors to cut and cut and cut
    Me away from you.

    But no matter how hard I try,
    The damn thing finds its way back
    And re-attaches itself to my heart,
    To my gut- to your beating belly center
    From which it was born.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The Shadows of Addiction

    Addiction
    Affliction
    Abuse
    What’s the excuse?

    Substances infuse the brain
    No pain
    Worries…anxieties flee
    Mocking reality

    Illusions of joy
    Permeate the atmosphere
    No fear
    Confidence in abundance
    Eradicates the twins
    Insecurity and timidity

    Crack cocaine dances with heroin
    Down opioid lane
    The life of the party has been born
    Sworn in only to begin
    The cycle over and over again

    The belle of the ball
    Begins to fall
    Tumbling…tumbling…tumbling
    Into the depths of despair
    Where even love-starved children
    Cannot pierce the fierce
    Grasp of addiction

    Brokenhearted families
    Succumb to the numbness
    Of a devastating madness
    Found in pipes…pills…powders
    In the streets…prescriptions
    over the counters
    living death destroying
    the fabric of love…

    Addiction
    Affliction
    Abuse
    What’s the excuse?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Jamie, Enjoyed your poems here. My own mother always said she longed for a mother and not a friend. Here is the link to what I wrote in response to your prompt. Hope you are well. reneejustturtleflight.com/2018/09/15/oranges-and-apples

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thankyou Jamie

    Second response

    ..slabbed..

    lay dead . do not speak nor ask for fear.

    lay quiet. do not write nor tell. there are

    new shoes by the wardrobe. at an angle.

    still. do not move nor participate in any

    way.

    do not breathe, nor cry. there are new

    shoes by the wardrobe, new shoes.

    sbm.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. a powerful prompt, Jamie. Thank you.

    Broken

    How can we not
    when it is in our
    blood

    How can we not
    when it is in our
    histories & herstories

    Broken love —
    self seeking,
    conditional,
    misunderstood
    assumptions.

    How can we not
    when it is in our
    cultures

    How can we not
    when it is in our
    pasts and presents

    How can we not
    hurt/break others
    when we start that way

    enter broken —
    what else can be given
    but brokenness
    passed generations
    to generations
    in disguised iterations

    I will never be
    her, him, them
    but how can I not

    Memory in words
    action, emotion
    overwhelm, repeat

    How can we not
    what else is there —
    only practiced brokenness.

    Father forgive them
    Father forgive me
    When I cannot.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. .mother love.

    mother loves; son loves.

    three. sons arrive. two.

    father disappears a while,

    &

    while he is gone they grow.

    up.

    mother loves; son loves.

    a while.

    middle one dies, elder blames

    mother, abuses her daughter.

    a while.

    the younger blinks and stutters.

    mother loves; son loves.

    he has a different story.

    mother loves; son loves.

    sbm.

    Like

  11. I am very impressed with Jamie’s poems and idea! The trauma must be spoken so that it does not remain in the subconscious, as Freud claims. I underline the very interesting cultural fact that the term “Byzantine manner” used by an American poet is used in a context characteristic of people living in neighboring countries of Byzantium.

    Pain In Your Heart

    “Art creates the dream of life”

    Is that the season?
    The leaves are hitting the silent windows
    and some roots of trees are creaking,
    but I am a dream.
    I do not recognize the colors,
    when the sun of that town
    without time shelters me like Mum.
    Which flowers shall I gift to you?
    I am not a saint – I cannot revive you.
    I cannot even grief.

    To gift to you – a last flower.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. toughish love

    dad had a note he would send
    one of the three of us brothers
    to the store with: “please sell my son
    2 packs of pall malls”

    i didn’t like to do it
    i never liked to do it

    one day i refused.
    i had to not lie.
    “dad. i’m not going to do this
    any more.”
    i looked at him
    and made my eyes say You
    Want Me To Help Kill You.

    in his eyes
    was a question.
    Do I Let You Defy Me?

    Then there was an answer:
    Ah, Well,
    It’s Because He Loves Me.

    dad said, “okay,”
    and i never bought him cigarettes again.

    i was twelve,
    he was thirty-three,
    but i was the parent that day.

    Liked by 1 person

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